A less-Dangerous Destination

Antarctica might not be one of the most dangerous destinations anymore, but it is not exactly a hot vacation spot either. Well, unless you’re a scientist, adventurer, isolationist, or all of the above.  Survival in  Antarctica does not depend on how well you speak the language or navigate politics, since technically, the country is politically neutral. Military activity with the exception of scientific research is banned based on the Antarctic Treaty signed in 1959. Instead, you must depend on what you brought with you and your inherent survival instincts.

Antarctica is the coldest country in the world (duh). This continent is even colder than the Arctic region due to its higher elevation, which is about 2 miles (3 km) above sea level. Higher elevation means a dryer, colder climate, causing the continent to be classified as a desert. The land was also  part of a super-continent several million years ago, and there is evidence of dinosaur and forest occupation on Antarctica. However, life on the continent has dwindled quite a bit since then.

So, are you planning an adventure, a romantic getaway, or a family trip? Travel is best between November and March when the sea ice has melted. Make sure to pack a few things:

  • Take plenty of food. (The vegetation is close to nil and the hunting of seals and whales is banned. Plus, penguins just don’t look tasty. And humans cannot survive on phytoplankton, I don’t care what the vegans say…)
  • Bring a book. Or four.
  • A fake penguin (to confound the other penguins.)

  • Snowmobile!! (as of 1994, sled dogs are not allowed on Antarctica anymore. see Antarctic Treaty)
  • a camera (to prove it. pictures or it didn’t happen!)
  • a flag (to claim your land.)

There are also a few things to  watch out for:

  • Tsunami caused by the above (freaks the penguins out too)


This is by no means a complete list. If you’re really planning a trip to the bottom (or top?) of the world, do some homework before rushing down there. From what I understand, the restaurants are not that great.

Please excuse me. I have travel on the brain. My internship here will be wrapping up soon and then I head off for adventures unknown!! (Kansas City, actually.) Maybe I’ll take a snowmobile just for kicks.


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About polararchivesintern

Kristin MacDonough is a Texas born University of Texas baccalaureate and Moving Image Archiving and Preservation graduate student at New York University interning for the summer of 2012 with The Ohio State University's Byrd Polar Research Center Archival Program. Say that five times fast. (I'm also an amateur science nerd and it appears I'm a big fan of universities.)

One response to “A less-Dangerous Destination”

  1. maria precioso says :

    wow… and also, fake penguin– must have survival gear!

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